Monica Garske

San Diego County Deputy Arrested in Riverside for Lewd Acts on Child

Sam Thomas Knight, Jr., 40, was booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Riverside County Tuesday

A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) deputy was arrested this week for a 2011 case involving alleged lewd acts on a child, officials confirmed.

Deputy Sam Thomas Knight, Jr., 40, of Santee, was booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center in the city of Murrieta, California. He's facing two felony charges of lewd acts with a child and a misdemeanor charge of annoying and molesting children.

Booking records from Riverside County indicate he was released on bail Wednesday. He is due back in court at the Riverside Hall of Justice on May 16.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department (RSO) said Thursday that in July 2016, deputies at the department's Perris Sheriff's Station received information regarding the sexual assault of a minor victim.

According to a complaint filed in the Superior Court of California County of Riverside, the first of the alleged lewd and lascivious acts happened in between 2011 and 2012 in Riverside County when the victim was younger than 14 years old.

The second alleged lewd and lascivious act, as well as the misdemeanor, happened in March 2016 when the victim was younger than 18 years old.

The investigation identified the suspect as Knight. The SDSO deputy was arrested this week in San Diego in connection with the case, Riverside officials said.

NBC 7 asked the RSO why it took nearly two years to make the arrest, a department spokesperson responded with this statement:

"As you can see by the charges, the investigation spanned some time. You can imagine that when it comes to this kind of investigation that spanned possible years. It is a delicate process and one that we must be extremely attentive to. I can confirm the information was reported in 2016, and the DA filed a warrant for the arrest 2 weeks ago."

Riverside County Sheriff's Department
SDSO Deputy Sam Knight's booking photo, provided by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

The SDSO said Thursday that the department was aware of the investigation into Knight from the beginning and fully cooperated with detectives handling the case from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The SDSO said Knight was relieved of his peace officer powers and placed on leave from the department. However, the department would not confirm if Knight was on paid or unpaid leave.

The SDSO said it has no further comment on Knight’s arrest.

Public records show Knight was hired by the SDSO in late August 2007.

NBC 7 learned Thursday that Knight had been fired in 2014 after he used non-approved tactics in an unjustified takedown of an inmate at George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa.

The County Civil Service Commission disputed Knight's firing and he was later reinstated.

Further details of the allegations against Knight were not released.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

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